BODRUM - Doğan News Agency
A recent athletics competition in the western touristic district of Bodrum has been lambasted due to the severe lack of proper equipment and officials, prompting Youth and Sports Ministry to launch an investigation.
“For anyone asking why athletics isn’t developing [in Turkey], it’s enough to look at this scandal in Bodrum, the golden child of tourism,” said Selma Akgün, a former national athletics referee who finished second in the 5,000-meter competition at the 19th European Masters Athletics Championships in İzmir in 2014.
Some 170 local children ranging in age from 10 to 14 competed in the third Little Athletics Competition and “Turkey’s Fastest Competition” in Bodrum’s Turgutreis area under the auspices of the Turkish Athletic Federation on April 10.
“There’s no track; races were held on something like a pasture. There weren’t enough chronometers or referees. Supposedly these children are also going to go the Turkish championships,” she said.
The competition was further hampered by the use of normal beds instead of mats for the high jump competition, while plumbing pipe was also used instead of a high jump bar. A number of physical education teachers acted as referees for the competitions, but the lack of sufficient numbers resulted in athletes being forced to race in five or six different competitions when the normal maximum would have been two.
The mats for the high jump competition were also reportedly too small, with organizers using mats of just five square meters instead of the regulation 20 square meters. When one competitor rolled off the high jump mat, organizers stacked extra beds along the side in an attempt to prevent injury.